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Archive for January, 2009

How to Make Spun Sugar

I’ve always wanted to be able to do this, and unfortunately, never had instruction or a good opportunity to do so, but I found a cool website about.com that shows you how. Check it out. Perhaps this weekend I will try it!

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We had a bit of smoked turkey left over from a fantastic split pea soup JT made the other day, so I chopped it finely and we made Navy Bean Hash for breakfast. It was terrific! This receipe serves 4.

Check out this recipe on Foodista

  • 1 cup navy beans (do not soak)
  • 2 cups water (or stock of your choice)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 5 slices smoked turkey breast, finely sliced
  • 6 mushrooms finely sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Ad all ingredients in a ceramic slow cooker, and put on low.
  2. Cook overnight until beans are soft. Depending on how much additional liquid is released by the onions and mushrooms, you may need to drain any excess (normally you would boil the beans, and some liquid would reduce by evaporation, however, the slow cooker does not allow for as much evaporation because it has a lid!)
  3. Poach a couple of eggs per person.
  4. Serve eggs over Navy Bean Hash with salsa and a dallop of yogurt or sour cream.
  5. Enjoy!

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Last Saturday we had our good friends, Dave and Mi Mi over for dinner. The menu was:

Hors D’oeuvres: Home made chicken liver paté, korozot (hungarian goats cheese dip) and variety of olives.

Puréed Roasted Cauliflower Soup (recipe below), with slivered apples and gruyere cheese dallopped on the centre.

Paella with Rustic Home Baked Bread

Molten Chocolate Cake with berries and Vanilla Ice Cream

Puréed Roasted Cauliflower Soup (8, 1/2 cup servings)

check out the recipe on Foodista

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into even chunks
1 head garlic + 2-3 tbsp olive oil + sea salt
1 small yellow onion
2-3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste
3-4 cups stock of your choice (I like miso, but chicken works well too…I wouldn’t try beef!)
1 golden delicious on Jonagold apple julienned into thin slivers
4 tbsp julienned Gruyeres cheese

  • Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350F.
    Prepare garlic to roast, remove loose skin.
    Take a 10″ x 10″ piece of parchment and put garlic squarely in the middle. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.
    Take a 10″ x 10″ piece of foil and place beneath parchment, now wrap the entire garlic up so that the olive oil does leak out. Set aside.
    Quarter yellow onion.
    Place onion and cauliflower on a 12″ x 17″ cookie sheet with 1-2″ sides, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, coating evenly.
    Place sheet in oven, place garlic package beside it and roast for about 40-45 minutes. You don’t want the cauliflower to brown, just roast nicely.
    When cauliflower is soft, place into a glass blender. Remove garlic from package and drip the olive oil onto the cauliflower in the blender. Squeeze the garlic out into the blender…the whole thing.
    Pour 2 cups of stock into the blender and blend to puré, adding additional stock to desired consistency.
    Using a fine seive and the back of a laddle, press the puréed soup through so that all lumps are removed.
    Reheat in microwave, garnish with cheese first then the apple on top, and enjoy.

    Paella (serves 4 really hungry or 6 marginally hungry people)

    This is a recipe I adapted a long time ago from Ken Kostik, but I can no longer find it on line!) I find this very easy because everything is cooked independantly and then assembled in the paella pan, and reheated for about 10-15 minutes.

    • 4 chicken thighs cut into halves or thirds depending on how large they are (I like the dark meat for this recipe)
    • 12 shelled and deveined shrimp
    • 1 calamari tube, sliced in rings about 1 cm thick
    • 12-16 mussels (this may be omitted), cleaned and checked that they are alive
    • 1 Chorizo sausage sliced into 1 cm thick rounds then cut in half
    • 5 oz white fish of your choice (we used cod because it stands up to cooking in the rice)
    • 1 tsp saffron
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 1 cup long grain white rice
    • 1 tbsp smoked paprika (I generally use spanish)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic minced finely
    • 1/2 sweet onion
    • 4 skinned and seeded chopped tomatoes
    • 1 red pepper
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    • 1 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
    • Lemon wedges to garnish
    • 2 green onions finely sliced

    Instructions

    1. The day before marinate the chicken thighs in 2 tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika and salt and refrigerate.
    2. 1 hour before cooking the rice, soak the saffron and garlic in the white wine for about 1 hour.
    3. Prepare rice in a rice cooker, adding the saffron, garlic wine and about 1/2 of the cut Chorizo sausage and remaining water as per rice instructions.
    4. Using a cast iron griddle, cook the chicken thighs thoroughly. Refrigerate.
    5. In the paella pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté onions until translucent, add the remaining Chorizo sausage and brown the sausage. Set aside.
    6. Preheat the oven to 350F.
    7. Once the rice is cooked and you are about 10-15 minutes from serving, add the rice, fish, mussels, shrimp, calamari, tomatoes and chicken. Stir well (depending on how wet you like your paella, you may wish to add chicken stock to taste – I prefer a dryer version, don’t forget that the mussels will release some liquid as well). Bake in 350F oven for about 10 minutes until shrimp is pink, mussels have opened and calamari is done but no rubbery!
    8. Add frozen peas and red pepper. Stir and bake an additional 2-5 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with green onions, lemon and basil.
    9. Serve immediately with fresh home made bread, and lots of wine!

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    February 10, 2013: I have updated this post with clearer instructions for the Nokedli as well as a photo of the loose dough.

    Adapted from my mother’s recipe

    Check out my recipe on Foodista

    • 1 kg chicken breasts, no skin, no bones
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1 large Vidalia onion about 1 cup (Mayan onion will work too), finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp paprika paste (or home made roasted red peppers, skins removed) or 1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika powder
    • 1 green cubano pepper, thinly sliced (not hot peppers)
    • 1 medium chopped tomato (or 1/4 cup tomato paste)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp flour
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (no fat) or no fat yogurt + couple of tbsp for garnish
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock (low sodium)

    Instructions

    1. Cook onions in 1 tsp olive oil until soft, add chicken stock (the onions will help thicken the sauce). Add chopped tomato and cook 2 minutes longer.
    2. Remove from heat and add paprika.
    3. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the onion mixture until smooth.
    4. Strain through a fine sieve (this will help discard the tomato skins and seeds which would ruin the creamy texture of the sauce). Reserve.
    5. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and brown in 1 tsp olive oil.
    6. When the chicken is almost done, add the sauce back to the pan, and simmer until the chicken is entirely cooked.
    7. Just before serving, add the thinly sliced green peppers (I like them a bit crunchy as garnish)
    8. Add 1 tsp flour to the sour cream or plain yogurt and stir well. Stir the sour cream into the sauce and heat through (do not boil).
    9. Dollop fresh sour cream or plain yogurt just before serving.

    Serve with noodles or nokedli (dumplings).

    Nokedli (dumplings)
    I usually eyeball this. General rule is 1 egg, 1/2 cup flour + bit of water
    per person.

    I use 1 whole egg per lot, then the remainder I use the egg whites only (this makes it a bit healthier and the 1 egg yolk adds a bit of colour).

    To make 4 servings:

    • 1 egg
    • 9 tbsp egg whites
    • 2 cups flour
    • water to soften dough as needed
    • 3-4 L water for boiling
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp butter + 1 tsp olive oil
    The dough should be loose enough to press through the Nokedli maker without much effort, but it should not be wet.

    The dough should be loose enough to press through the Nokedli maker without much effort, but it should not be wet.

    Directions:

    1. In a large pot, bring 3-4 L water and olive oil to a boil (you need a large pot because the dumplings will sink and then rise to the top when done). Don’t salt the water because it will make the dumplings too soft – don’t know if that is true, but I have never done it to try!
    2. In a food processor, blend eggs, flour and add water to make a dough resembling loose bread or pasta dough, and it should be able to be pressed through a dumpling maker easily.
    3. Using the dumpling maker, press batter through, stir dumplings occasionally so they don?t stick together. I generally make the entire batter, stirring occasionally – no need to remove the done ones!
    4. Strain well. You can lightly coat in olive oil and let stand until required.
    5. In an enamel Dutch oven, melt butter with olive oil. Heat to high.
    6. Add dumplings and stir well. You will want the dumplings to become crispy and brown…they are really tasty that way.
    7. Salt and Pepper to taste.
    8. Serve with Chicken Paprikas on top.

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    Adapted from my mother’s recipe

    Check out my recipe on Foodista

    • 1 kg chicken breasts, no skin, no bones
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1 large Vidalia onion about 1 cup (Mayan onion will work too), finely chopped
    • 1/2 tsp paprika paste (or home made roasted red peppers, skins removed)
    • 1 green cubano pepper, thinly sliced (not hot peppers)
    • 1 medium chopped tomato (or 1/4 cup tomato paste)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp flour
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (no fat) or no fat yogurt + couple of tbsp for garnish
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock (low sodium)

    Instructions

    1. Cook onions in 1 tsp olive oil until soft, add chicken stock (the onions will help thicken the sauce). Add chopped tomato and cook 2 minutes longer.
    2. Remove from heat and add paprika.
    3. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the onion mixture until smooth.
    4. Strain through a fine sieve (this will help discard the tomato skins and seeds which would ruin the creamy texture of the sauce). Reserve.
    5. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and brown in 1 tsp olive oil.
    6. When the chicken is almost done, add the sauce back to the pan, and simmer until the chicken is entirely cooked.
    7. Just before serving, add the thinly sliced green peppers (I like them a bit crunchy as garnish)
    8. Add 1 tsp flour to the sour cream or plain yogurt and stir well. Stir the sour cream into the sauce and heat through (do not boil).
    9. Dollop fresh sour cream or plain yogurt just before serving.

    Serve with noodles or nokedli (dumplings).

    Nokedli (dumplings)
    I usually eyeball this. General rule is 1 egg, 1/2 cup flour + bit of water
    per person.

    I use 1 whole egg per lot, then the remainder I use the egg whites only (this makes it a bit healthier and the 1 egg yolk adds a bit of colour).

    To make 4 servings:

    • 1 egg
    • 9 tbsp egg whites
    • 2 cups flour
    • water to soften dough as needed
    • 3-4 L water for boiling
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp butter + 1 tsp olive oil

    Instructions

    1. In a large pot, bring 3-4 L water and olive oil to a boil (you need a large pot because the dumplings will sink and then rise to the top when done). Don’t salt the water because it will make the dumplings too soft – don’t know if that is true, but I have never done it to try!
    2. In a food processor, blend eggs, flour and add water to make a dough a bit thicker than pancake batter ? it should be able to be pressed through a dumpling maker easily.
    3. Using the dumpling maker, press batter through, stir dumplings occasionally so they don?t stick together. I generally make the entire batter, stirring occasionally – no need to remove the done ones!
    4. Strain well. You can lightly coat in olive oil and let stand until required.
    5. In an enamel Dutch oven, melt butter with olive oil. Heat to high.
    6. Add dumplings and stir well. You will want the dumplings to become crispy and brown…they are really tasty that way.
    7. Salt and Pepper to taste.
    8. Serve with Chicken Paprikas on top.

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    No Knead Bread Revisited (video)

    JT has really taken this on as his own, and I haven’t made bread since he did. I have to admit, I am a bit jealous since I am the one who loves to do this stuff…but he seems to really enjoy it, and he is great at it. Go JT go!

    We got into the loaf before I remembered to take some shots…well, they are better than nothing. And by the way, the bread was DELICIOUS!

    Adapted from New York Times, which was adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
    Time: About 2 to 4 hours’ rising, 45 minutes baking

    vinegarcrust

    vinegarcrumb

    • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
    • ¼ cup ground flax seed
    • ¼ tsp instant yeast
    • ¼ tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1¼ tsp salt
    • 1 5/8 ‘warm’ water
    • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
    1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water and wine vinegar, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 2-4 hours, preferably about 4, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
    2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles (dough will be quite gooey). Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
    3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
    4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450F.
    5. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with lid (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic – we always have the lid beside it so the heat goes into the pan faster) in oven as it heats.
    6. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 35 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

    Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

    jan-18-snow

    jan-18-snow12

    We got pounded with snow again last night…about 15cm! This morning I was looking forward to shoveling (yep, you read that correctly!) but we watched a movie (88 minutes with Al Pacino 6/10) and by the time we went out, our lovely neighbour Frank did it all for us! Thanks Frank.

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    We’ve been baking the no knead bread since we discovered how easy it is… in fact, it is JT who is baking the bread these days…he loves it and is very good at it! Check out this helpful video.

    wholeloaf

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1/4 tsp yeast
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups warm water
    1. Mix dry ingredients together.
    2. Pour water into centre and mix with a wooden spoon or your hand.
    3. Cover in bowl with cello and allow to rest in a warm dark place for 7 hours.
    4. Pour dough onto a floured surface and fold into a nice compact ball. Wrap with cello and allow to rest 1 hour.
    5. Remove Cello and cover dough with a light dusting of flour and cover with a cloth (not terry) and allow to rest 2 hours.
    6. Pre-heat oven to 400F with pot and lid.
    7. Add a bit of corn meal to pot bottom.
    8. Gently roll dough into hot pan being careful not to deflate it.
    9. Sprinkle a bit more corn meal on top.
    10. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes.
    11. Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.
    12. Enjoy amazing bread!

    the-crumb
    slice2

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    Adapted from Fannie Farmer, December 1984 (originally published in 1896!)

    chickencacciatore11

    • 4 6oz chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 ounce dried mushroom rehydrated in about 1 cup warm water, set liquid aside (make sure you strain through coffee filter to ensure no sand gets into it)
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1/2 dry white wine
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste (put remaining tomato paste into an extra ice cube tray and freeze, remove from tray into a zip lock baggy and voila, tomato paste as required!)
    • 2 cups canned Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 1/2 tsp allspice
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • Chili peppers to taste
    • Salt to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven and cook the chicken until lightly browned on all sides.
    3. Add the onion and sauté a minute or two and then add the wine and allow to boil up.
    4. Lower the temperature and add the garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes, red pepper and the mushrooms.
    5. Add the seasonings, bay leaves and the mushroom liquid.
    6. Cover and bake in the hot oven for about 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through.
    7. Remove bay leaves, taste and season if required.
    8. Serve on a bed of mixed baby spinach and baby arugula leaves and no knead bread. Dallop with yogurt or sour cream.

    YUM!

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    Oh Christmas Tree…

    As usual, we decorated our tree in our traditional silver and gold theme. I simply love it.

    We’ve had it up since December 1 and it’s done well, but the last few days have been difficult for the tree.  It really started drying out so we had to take it down. I’m glad the festivities are over and we could go back to normal, whatever that is!

    08christmastree2

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    20130829-185810.jpg

    This recipe is a version from Food Network’s Tyler Florence (our’s is much healthier!)

    Ingredients

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 6oz Salmon Steaks, BBQ’d
    • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (1 cup)
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    • 1 pound angel hair pasta (we always use whole wheat or Catelli Smart)
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil
    • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, quartered and drained
      (1 cup)
    • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted (1/4 pound)
    • 6 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1/4 cup Carnation evaporated milk (fat free version)
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Boil water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer.
    2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook Salmon.
    3. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic to skillet. Saute for 2 minutes.
    4. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
    5. Now add the basil, artichoke hearts, olives to the skillet. Saute one minute then stir in the milk.
    6. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl.
    7. Cut salmon into bite-sized chunks and add to the pasta and toss.
    8. Add the crumbled feta, toss again.
    9. Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

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